Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sticky Wicket


My variations on a sculpture by Mark Di Suvero, which he donated to York University.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Why I love Hamilton

It’s a city trapped in time, its buildings slowly crumbling, while no one takes much notice. Literally falling apart in front of our eyes, bricks deteriorate onto the ground, yet no one cleans up or fixes anything. Every old peeling wall, fragmented sign, crumbling brick, its all so beautiful. It is the artwork of time, no one could have planned it or imagined it would look this way, but it happened, and every detail of it is exquisite.

It allows for different perspectives. Anyone might think that a manicured garden or well planned town is pretty, but Hamilton is raw and different and unique in every way. No matter what your forte is, you will find something that moves you. Open your eyes and try to see something different.

No matter how out of style you dress, as you as you walk down the street you will see at least 10 people that are dressed at least 20 times worse than you (although of course this is subjective). Nobody gives a shit.

We aren’t drowning in condominiums and trendy yuppies.

No matter where you want to go, you can get there in a relatively short amount of time. Big city feel, small town charm.

Uptown is separated from downtown by a large escarpment, making the meaning of the terms quite literal. I was actually quite surprised when I learned that the ‘downtown’ of a city isn’t defined by longitude.

Driving down a street you’ve gone done a hundred times before, and noticing for the first time an old, gothic building so tall and elaborate, that it must have been quite the spectacle in its day.

The sincere lack of Starbucks (and other corporate chains that fit into the Starbucks paradigm). It’s just not Hamilton’s style (nor is it economically realistic for the majority of its residents).

Lots of independent presses giving refreshing views and news.

The rant section in our weekly alternative.

Local foods. Surrounded by some of the most fertile land in the world, its easy to get fresh, local food. There are lots of farmers markets all around the city, and if you have a car you can visit the countless farms surrounding the city.

All the unique independent businesses and the genuine people that work there. A lot of these people love Hamilton, love their community, and are fighting the good fight against you-guessed-what. (Or if you didn’t guess, corporate monoculture).

The waterfalls. Thirty-seven of them in total. Some are celebrated and cherished by those who go to hike by them, some are hidden gems that are rarely seen. Wherever your driving, its always exciting to suddenly catch a glimpse of a waterfall. While riding my bike along the escarpment I’ve noticed several waterfalls that I hadn’t seen before, some you can just see by stopping on the sidewalk and looking over the edge, others by squinting through the woods. Even better than the sight of waterfalls is the powerful sound.

The beavers at the waterfront trail. They make the place so much more special and are always exciting to see. I’ve seen them many times swimming along the shore, walking on the land, climbing up the bank onto one of the islands (and even getting attacked by a goose that had claimed the island). Even if you don’t spot a beaver itself, you will certainly see evidence of them with stumps everywhere from trees they’ve cut down. I also love the deer (and am so tired of the people who don’t).

People that are enthusiastic about this city. Once your love for this place is in your veins, enthusiasm spreads. With all the crap people say about Hamilton, those who hold a special place in their heart for the city are quick to defend it. There are many great revitalization projects here, but the people who share this enthusiasm are the revitalization themselves.

The greenspaces. No matter where you are, there are almost always elements of nature, with mature trees and preserved natural areas abound. There are so many incredible hiking trails for walking, crosscountry skiing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, mountain biking, etc.

Discovering new things everyday, in a city you thought you knew.

I’m the kind of person who likes to walk around aimlessly, to wander and take pictures. I like everything to be raw, real, and different. This is my kind of place.